Change is always hard on a business, and this is especially true when it comes time to migrating from an old, familiar software product to a newer and advanced software package. The success of a software migration project typically hinges on Winding a System Integrator (SI), that can; understand your business challenges, install the new software yet keep the company’s core values and processes intact.
By definition System Integrators (SI’s) are essentially consultants who specialize in installing, configuring, customizing and training your organization on the new software.
1 – In Depth Technical and Business Knowledge
Major software implementation projects invariably run into problems. It’s not anyone’s fault! You’re just dealing with a lot of moving parts, complex code, while still trying to run your day‐to‐day operation…watch out! For this reason alone, we recommend that you identify an SI partner that has a referenceable track record with the software, and exemplified situations in which they made smart decisions to problems as they arose. For example, you want an SI that can look at a software bug and know how to tackle the problem quickly.
2 – Your Advocate
During your SI vetting process, search for an integrator that has a solid track record and whose professional opinion you can value. Remember that the SI will effectively become your business partner for the duration of the project. For example, the SI should match the overall long‐term vision of the company with the software needed to support it. They should also validate important items such as; “calling out” hidden costs that often are buried in the details. Ideally, the SI you select will be on your side – advocating for the best deal overall not just one that runs up their hourly billable time.
3 – Milestones and Accountability
Before beginning the project, draw out important target dates and expected deliverables from the SI. This will set expectations on both sides beyond a “good faith policy.”
The clearer the goals are defined, the less chance of misinterpretation on both sides. The SI should be able to review the timelines and if agreed upon, break up the project into “phases” and tangible deliverables.
4 – The Cookie-Cutter Approach Just Doesn’t Work
All SI partners have the capacity to install the software and train your organization to use it. That’s the easy part! If you are re‐engineering many processes to accommodate a software package, something is probably going wrong in the project, or you have the wrong SI. Keep in mind, how you do things on a day‐to‐day basis are inherent to your corporate culture and is your competitive advantage!
5 – Documentation
Every project will create its own set of unique problems and solutions that are above and beyond the standard User Guide. Our advice is that before the SI concludes their work; have them provide a reference document while it’s still fresh in your mind. It’s tedious work, but can save your co‐workers a lot of “stress” down the road.
In short, a main driver of purchasing new software is to help run your business more smoothly with fewer long term costs. However, overall success in materializing your software investment depends on finding an SI that is motivated to work hard and is aligned to your corporate goals.